There is no doubt about the power of storytelling, its fascination and ability to strengthen the recall of a brand. Humans quickly connect with stories, and it helps them to remember things longer. A story activates parts of the brain that allows listeners to turn the story into their own ideas and experience. However, there is very little empirical evidence exists of their effects on consumer responses. As storytelling is becoming another mainstream mode of advertising, what kind of stories a brand should tell to keep it outstanding and clutter-free.
Should a story be of a fearless rebel or gentle? That depends, which route is imperative and how well customers associate themselves with it. However, there is a risk of polarisation, and lack of purpose can doom the image of a brand. Controversial brands are often quick to rise and fall as they get drown in the tsunami of trends and become out of space.
Amidst a generational shift, Millennials will comprise more than one of three adult Americans by 2020 and 75% of the workforce by 2025. Brands have to re-consider their current positioning and how they can effectively connect with the next generation, as reports suggest that millennials prefer brands with purpose. Purposeful storytelling is the better idea with sharply honing the context of timing. That is what Nike did it with its 30th-anniversary ad.
The decision by Nike to use Colin Kaepernick as the face of the ad campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of ‘Just Do It’ reflects a brave move driven by the purpose of “Believe in Something.” Meanwhile, people reacted against it on social media, but surging sales of Nike clearly tell a different story. Nike stood for the purpose of non-violent civil protest as a proud legacy of America, and the world is loving it.
What is fascinating from a marketing aspect is how this one ad has wholly redefined Nike’s brand purpose. How exceptionally it conveyed the message of moral excellence and the meaning of success in the world. Also, it will reinforce Nike’s connect to Gen-Z as a purpose-driven brand to help solve social and environmental problems.